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General Greene to Jacob Greene, Esq.



Rhode-Island Camp, June 28, 1775.

The hurry I have been in, and the numerous employments I am called to, have left me no opportunity to write to you. I regret it the less, as I am confident that you have heard every day from the camp, and almost every particular transaction here, with many that never were transacted here or any where else.

The particulars of the late battle of Bunker' s Hill have been differently represented. Sometimes the enemy have lost a hundred; sometimes a thousand; and now it is up to fifteen hundred. I believe, from the best accounts I can collect, that they suffered a loss nearly equal to the last accounts. Many officers fell in the action. The Welsh Fusileers, the finest Regiment in the English establishment, is ruined; there are but one Captain and eleven privates left in the Regiment. It is said, that if some Regiments on our side had done their duty as well as others did, the Regulars must have suffered a total defeat, and would never have got possession of the intrenchments. Upon the whole, I think we have little reason to complain. There were but about fifty killed on our side, thirty made prisoners, and sixty wounded. I wish we could sell them another hill at the same price.

The Regulars are now encamped on Bunker' s Hill and our people on Prospect and Winter Hills, both strongly intrenched. Our people are in good spirits, but regularity and discipline are much wanted. Our own Troops are raw, irregular, and undisciplined; yet, bad as they are, they are under much better government than any Troops round about Boston, There are some officers in each Regiment who exert themselves to bring the camp under regulations. There are some Captains, and many subaltern officers, who neglect their duty; some through fear of offending their soldiers, some through laziness, and some through obstinacy. This makes the task of the field-officers very laborious. I have warned them of their negligence many times, and am determined to break every one for the future who shall lay himself open to it.

My task is hard, and fatigue great, I go to bed late, and rise early. The number of applications you cannot conceive of, without being present to observe the round of business. But, hard as it is, if I can discharge my duty to my own honour, and my Country' s, satisfaction, I shall go through the toil with cheerfulness. My own officers and soldiers are generally well satisfied; nay, I have not heard one complaint.

The General Officers of the neighbouring camps treat me with the greatest respect; much more than my station or consequence entitles me to, Were I to estimate my value by the attention paid to my opinions, I should have great reason to think myself some considerable personage. But fatal experience teaches me every day, that mankind are apt to pay deference to station and not to merit. Therefore, when I find myself surrounded by their flattering attentions, I consider them as due to my office, and not to me. I shall study to deserve well, but cannot but lament the great defects I find in myself to discharge, with honour and justice, the important trust committed to my care. You know I never made much parade, nor was ambitious of raising people' s expectation higher than I had reason to hope my conduct would be answerable to. The world, in


general, are too good judges not to learn the true merits of men, after being furnished with an opportunity to inspect them. I hope God will preserve me in the bounds of moderation, and enable me to support myself with proper dignity, neither rash nor timorous, pursuing a conduct marked with manly firmness, but never bordering on frenzy.